Can Brazil Trim the Fat From Its Bloated Political System

Real Clear World-01The number of political parties in Brazil’s legislature has long been one of the government’s biggest problems. Unstable, unreliable coalitions and corruption scandals have become regular features of the country’s political system, thanks in large part to the more than 30 parties registered in Brazil today. Calls for a change in the system have grown louder in recent years, particularly in the wake of the latest corruption probe — the largest to date — and the government is starting to work toward reform. But progress will be slow and incremental.

An Unstable System
Unlike many other democracies, Brazil has few laws in place to limit the creation of political parties and doesn’t require groups to win a minimum percentage of the vote to reach the legislature. The number of parties registered in the country has surged in recent years to reach 35, 26 of which are currently represented in the National Congress. For Brazil’s executive branch, the state of affairs is becoming increasingly untenable. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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